Over the years, I have always heard: Men will tell you that they are good at things even if they are only average, women will say they could do better even if they are good. So what type of person would you like to hire?
How many times have I not reviewed my CV, thinking: “I did achieve top scores in Spanish, but that was fifteen years ago, and really, I am not that fluent anymore”? Many, I can tell you. Then, I’ll have male friends asking me to review their CVs. They are all fluent in English (in the cases where they are been French), but there are still a lot of points on their CVs (in English) that need correcting. The same goes for other skills, it seems. (My experience here is purely empirical, but surfing around the net you will find ample support for this theory on “overstating” ones skills and experience.)
I spoke to someone the other day who runs a business of about 1000 people, and who would like to remain anonymous for this reason, says he prefers hiring women for positions where he needs things to happen, or as managers.
Why is this? To start with, he claims women are more sincere. They will not say: “I have extensive experience from xyz” during an interview, only to be counterproven by three follow up questions, or during their trial period. They will also be more “worried” about doing a good job, which leads them to be more conscientious. Finally, if they are motivated about doing something, they will push 110% in a way he claims men don’t do the same way.
Here, we have a great example of someone who looks at the results that come out of the work when he hires, rather than “hiring the type of people you know” – in the pattern of “men hire men, women hire women”, that is sometimes criticized in the whole equality and women and leadership debate.
So, is there a down-side to hiring women then? There shouldn’t be. Diversity is supposed to create greater value, and it still does. BUT. It seems you need to be a manager with a higher quota of “EQ”, in addition to “IQ”. There are more Emotions going around his women employees, and there are therefore a lot more discussions about relations, rather than just “NN and I don’t agree on this point”. Men tend to shut up and get on with it. Or, shut up and put sticks in the wheels of others that they don’t get on with. Women air their concerns and this has to be dealt with, in a constructive way. This goes in line with many articles today, that raise the need to address the persons who work with you, not only the tasks they are supposed to carry out (more about this later, maybe).
Those who read this can make up their own mind on whether the this can be called a down side, or if it is just part of being a good manager. A good manager who can deal with different types of employees and bring out the best in all of them. I personally think it is the latter.
I should add that this person works for a French company, not a Swedish, German, or American one. And yes, of course there are differences between individuals, regardless of gender, nationality, or other factors.
But, I still like to generalise. Sometimes. Just a bit.